Last week, I told you about the horrible query letter that I sent my agent Rachelle. By the grace of God, Rachelle didn’t send my email straight to her delete file.
Instead, Rachelle’s response (dated two weeks later) was:
Thank you so much for submitting your query for our review. If you’re still seeking representation, I love to discuss it.
I’ve attached our proposal template. If you could translate your proposal and sample chapters into this document, it would be helpful to me.
There are no guarantees, but I could get this into the hands of the right editors and see if there’s interest out there in Christian publishing. Let me know if you’re interested in discussing.
Of COURSE I was interested in discussing. (Who wouldn’t be?!) I emailed Rachelle right away and let her know that I was interested and that I’d start working on the book proposal right away.
At that point in my life, I had no idea what a book proposal was. (Did I mention that I was naïve?!) But with the possibility of representation dangling in front of me, I suddenly became a student on proposal writing. I read Rachelle’s post on writing a good proposal (found here, if you’re interested) along with about fifty others I found online. I also researched proposal writing on www.writersdigest.com and went to the library and checked out the book “Write the Perfect Book Proposal“. I spent several weeks studying before I started working on my proposal.
What did I learn?
A good book proposal is more about the marketability of the book than the actual words in the book. I could be the most amazing writer ever, but without a solid marketing platform and an idea that stood out amongst thousands, my book would never sell.
So, what did I do?
1. I spent a lot of time thinking about my marketing platform. What groups am I a part of that could help me in marketing my book? Could I start a blog? Did I want to create a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page?
2. I spent a lot of time researching similar books. I studied the ones that did well and tried to figure out why they did so well. I looked at the ones that I’d never heard of and tried to figure out the reasons for that as well.
3. I went to hundreds of author blogs and looked at how they marketed their books.
4. I brainstormed ways that I could make my book stand out as different from the others on the market. My book is about a popular topic—pregnancy. The market is pretty much saturated. There are a million pregnancy books out there…from the short and funny (Vicki Iovine) to the informative (What to Expect). But there is nothing that’s funny, easy-to-read and focused on pregnant Christian moms.
5. Once I found my niche, I made sure everything in my proposal pointed in that direction. I wasn’t trying to appeal to every pregnant mom or every Christian mom, but to every newly pregnant Christian mom. And, with that in mind, I wrote my proposal with that audience in mind.
Next week: Enduring the wait